New Big Ten deals coming this week


When NBC created the Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe in 1990, it drew 3,500 people and was meant to be a one-off. Here we are 32 years later, and the event had over 67,000 people on hand and shows no signs of slowing down.

This week is shaping up to be a big one for Big Ten media rights negotiations, as companies will submit new offers for at least two packages available at the start of the week.

The most optimistic forecasts suggest the conference will know the winning bidders almost immediately, allowing conference commissioner Kevin Warren to tell a group of Big Ten presidents and chancellors at a meeting previously scheduled for the end of the year. week.

In the most likely scenario, bids from media companies are close enough that the conference decides to take the auction to another round. That would likely push a deal into August.

Even before last week’s blockbuster announcement that UCLA and USC will join the Big Ten in 2024, that media deal was expected to eclipse $1 billion a year. The addition of these two schools should see an increase of more than 15% over these rights fees.

It’s normal for college media deals to gradually pay more (or less) for schools that are added (or removed) from conferences. Now, instead of a gradual increase, the addition of USC and UCLA are part of the base package. The renewed interest comes from the additional inventory of USC and UCLA games – combined with the weakening of a rival conference.

Last week’s announcement prompted several media companies, including ESPN and NBC, to become more aggressive in bidding. CBS and Amazon continued to be active in these negotiations, while Warner Bros. Discovery remained on the sidelines.

An Apple executive called the Big Ten hours after the UCLA/USC news became public, but those talks haven’t gained traction and Apple isn’t considered a serious bidder for the company. one of the conference media rights packages.

Here’s what I know about UEFA’s plans to start negotiating the next US Champions League rights deal:

  • Relevent Sports, the Stephen Ross-backed firm handling the negotiations, has already met with nearly a dozen media companies to gauge their interest. Based on those meetings, he plans to double the annual rights fee for the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League to $300m a year.
  • My sources say that figure is achievable. It is better to be. This is because Relevent has guaranteed UEFA at least $250m per year for this deal. That’s a big number to aim for. Gerry Smith and Lucas Shaw written about this warranty earlier today.
  • Currently, CBS pays about $100 million a year for English rights and Univision pays about $50 million a year for Spanish rights. Both companies want to keep these agreements. ESPN, NBC and Fox have expressed interest.
  • To further appeal to digital companies, UEFA has relaxed its requirement that linear TV broadcast a specific number of matches. This opens the door to deep-pocketed companies like Apple (which just secured a football deal for MLS rights) and Amazon (which just scooped up Champions League rights in the UK). DAZN and FuboTV have also shown interest, I’m told.
  • Companies can submit bids for a three- or six-year contract. Media companies generally want longer contracts; properties often push for shorter ones. A media company that bids for six years will also have to submit a three-year bid. These companies will have to show UEFA why they benefit by moving to six.
  • Relevent CEO Danny Sillman is leading these negotiations.

In 2016, I took two of my brothers-in-law to an industry party. At various times, I’ve chatted with some of the sport’s top executives — people like former ESPN boss John Skipper or his top lieutenants like Burke Magnus and Connor Schell. Several on-air ESPN personalities were also present.

My brothers-in-law were very impressed with a conversation I had with one of ESPN’s fantasy football guys. “Do you know Matthew Berry? they asked in disbelief. “Can you introduce us? It was an eye-opening interaction for me that day.

I thought of that moment today when I saw Berry’s tweet that he is leaving ESPN after 15 years. Berry’s influence extended to everyday fans. I marveled at how a guy known for giving fantastic advice was able to build such deep bonds between sports fans.

There are so many beautiful tributes on Twitter today. One I want to highlight comes from former NBC Sports programming executive Ron Wechsler, who tweeted that Berry “essentially forced everyone to consider how far the fantasy could evolve. Arguably, his impact was greater behind the scenes than on camera.

  • Only 12 Q2 TV shows topped the Top 50 Shows of 2022 list, my colleague Austin Karp notes, on the first day of House Select Committee hearings investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol taking the top spot. . The North Carolina-Duke Final Four game was the most-watched sporting event of the quarter. Check out the full chart in SBJ this week.
  • The NFL has hired Shayna Hayes as Coordinating Producer and Head of Content with NFL Media’s Entertainment & Initiatives department. She will lead the content production team out of the new Los Angeles office, setting the creative and editorial direction of storytelling to amplify the NFL’s social justice/impact initiatives and signature entertainment events.
  • My boss Abe Madkour highlighted a few media stories in the first half of 2022 that stood out for him: the MLS deal with Apple; the massive contracts for NFL on-air talent; and Bally Sports is betting on a direct-to-consumer offer that could determine the way forward for teams looking to maintain healthy media revenues in their local markets.
  • Ahead of this week’s British Open, TikTok has entered into a content agreement with the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the R&A, which organizes the Open each year, notes SportTechie’s Joe Lemire.

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